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Player Review: Josh Manson
By: Aaron Francis
Josh Manson was coming off his best statistical season and was considered one of the Ducks veterans on the blue-line entering this past season. In his 2017-2018 campaign, he had career highs in goals and assists totaling for 37 points in 80 games. He was also among the league’s top players in plus/minus stats with a +34 in that span. It seemed that Manson might take that next step this season by playing a top-two role and becoming a top-level shutdown defenseman. But as was the case with most of the Ducks players this past season, things didn’t go as planned.
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Manson did have significant growth however as the Ducks asked him to provide leadership to the team in the absence of Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. He wore the “A” most of the season and did a fine job in attempting to get the Ducks motivated each game. His stats did regress unfortunately and Manson was only able to put up 16 points in 74 games with a plus/minus of -8. Anaheim was dead last in scoring during the 2018-2019 season so while his numbers took a step back, they may have been affected by the Ducks anemic offense. Josh Manson was also played more this past season than he ever had in his entire career, with his time-on-ice averaging 22:18 a night. Playing in tougher situations with the pressure of needing to help add to the offense may have harmed Manson’s performance as well as his defensive abilities.
However, you look at Manson’s numbers, it is clear that he will need to prove to his detractors that last season was the outlier. Josh Manson is a good candidate for a bounce-back season given he is still in his prime and will turn 28 in October. He has shown he is capable of high-level performance and can make a huge impact in helping the Ducks return to the postseason. He is one of the Ducks few right-handed defensemen and will be relied upon heavily again, only this time he’ll have experience with the pressure. Expect Manson to return this season with around 30 points and maintain an even or slightly positive plus/minus. If he can return his numbers to those he achieved during his 2017-2018 campaign it will go a long way to reaffirming his place on the Ducks defense.
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September 1st, 2019